Australian newspaper headlines charm of Hanoi’s street food, history

Australia’s ABC News has recommended the Vietnamese capital Hanoi to tourists, underlining the attractions of its culture, history and street food.

Suggesting that Hanoi should be a part of future summer trips when the Covid-19 ordeal is over, it says the city is a mixture of the smells of food and incense in a city shaped by many religions and history.

“It’s a city that’s forever changing, and yet things persist: cultural norms, old habits, from cafes to sidewalk stalls, to Confucian ethics and family discipline,” it quotes Nguyen Quy Duc, writer and the owner of a popular pub in town, as saying.

It quotes Emeritus Professor William Logan, author of “Hanoi: Biography of a City,” as saying during his first time in the city, he was struck by “what seemed initially a confusion of architectural styles.”

Comparing Hanoi with a palimpsest, he says: “You’ve got this layer, but things from the past keep popping up and you have to understand the past, really, to understand the city as it is now.”

He speaks about the old quarter with 36 streets like Hang Ma, Hang Giay and Hang Thiec, from which the city has expanded into what is now.

When the country’s economy opened up, many Hanoi residents turned their one-room-wide market stall into narrow multi-story hotels, he says.

The story also alludes to Vietnam being celebrated as a Covid-19 success story and the Hanoi cuisine.

Banh cuon (sticky rice sheet rolls), pho, bun rieu (crab-based noodles), and nuoc mia (sugarcane juice) are four recommended dishes, according to food writer and journalist Lee Tran Lam.

It tells readers not to miss the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, Temple of Literature, Imperial Citadel, the pedestrian street around Hoan Kiem Lake, and walking around the West Lake.

Logan says people should pay a visit to the Cultural Friendship Palace, a Soviet modernist building but with some Asian influences.

It quotes Vietnam-based journalist Michael Tatarski as saying: “The main thing is don’t ever run across the street.”

In June leading U.S. magazine Reader’s Digest listed Hanoi among the most popular travel Asian destinations. In 2019 the Vietnamese capital was 15th in the list of ‘25 best destinations’ chosen by travel website TripAdvisor.

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